Daniel J Vance

Last week, I urged readers to sign an online petition asking for William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Dummy Hoy was deaf, played from 1888-1902, and was one of his era’s greatest. He stole about 600 bases and had more than 2,000 hits. Perhaps his greatest contribution to major league baseball was being the person responsible for umpires using hand signals to indicate balls, strikes, and outs.

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Gary Kaschak of New Jersey has been helping lead the charge for Hoy’s induction. Kaschak is an optician, writes inspirational fiction, and sponsors a writing contest for seventh and eighth graders. Not long ago, the winning essay for one of Kaschak’s writing contests was penned by Ryan McSorley, who wrote about his friend and fellow Little Leaguer, Darren Drolsbaugh.

Said Kaschak, “Darren is a deaf ballplayer, and Ryan wrote about Darren being his hero. Before this, their team just happened to be playing in a (Little League) tournament in Cooperstown and Darren brought along there with him a letter he had written advocating Dummy Hoy’s election to the Hall of Fame. Darren even had the name “Dummy Hoy” inscribed on his spikes. When Darren’s coach heard about the letter, he asked the entire team to accompany Darren to the Hall of Fame. Not only were they welcomed, but the Hall of Fame also accepted his letter. Darren and his parents met with a Hall of Fame staff member explaining the voting process.”

After Kaschak heard this story, he began feverishly researching Hoy’s career and eventually sent a nine-page proposal himself to the Hall of Fame Overview Committee, the group responsible for deciding whether Hoy’s name will appear on the ballot. Kaschak then joined forces with three other Dummy Hoy advocates, including Steve Sandy, a deaf researcher who helped get Hoy into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Kaschak recently talked with Overview Committee members who said Hoy being deaf won’t sway their vote, but that Hoy had to earn induction based on his baseball accomplishments and/or overall contributions to the game. Having a career better than some Hall of Famers of that era should help Hoy’s cause, as will his probably having been responsible for umpires beginning to use hand signals. For Darren Drolsbaugh’s sake, let’s hope Hoy gets inducted.

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